An expert partner can help you eliminate voids in hot stamp decoration.
Hot stamp is a technology used to apply decoration to a range of products and components. Its repeatability, efficiency, and strong visual impact make hot stamp a popular decoration solution. Every solution comes with its challenges, and one faced by hot stamp users can be the appearance of voids or undecorated surfaces in the middle of their artwork.
What are voids? Essentially, in images that contain large, solid, bold areas, air can become trapped between the die and part. This air prevents the die from making full contact with the part resulting in “holes,” also known as “voids,” in the decoration. This condition prevents the foil or heat transfer label from making a complete transition or release from the film carrier to the part. It is possible to eliminate voids in hot stamp decoration.
Effectively addressing hot stamping challenges most often requires both Graphic Design and Die Specification Solutions. Next, we will take a look at both.
Quality graphic design is the first and most important step in successful, quality hot stamp decoration. This is because no amount of sophistication in die manufacturing can overcome bad artwork!
Best practices in graphic design include the use of original vector artwork with a resolution of at least 600 dpi with crisp lines and characters. That is to say, graphics must be clearly defined and sufficiently spaced. And the entire image should meet minimum line weight requirements.
So, how can graphic design be used to create void-free decoration? Consider artwork created with an outline versus a solid image or, at minimum, a balance between solid and outlined elements to assist with air entrapment issues.
Graphic design experts at United Silicone and CER have significant expertise in this area. They can make recommendations for artwork modifications that might be invisible or near invisible to the human eye but that greatly enhance the repeatability of your decoration. In addition to careful graphic artwork design, successful hot stamp decoration depends upon the correct die format and specifications for the job.
Die specification solutions are available for both photo-etched as well as for machine engraved silicone stamping dies.
For photo-etched dies or make-readies, the use of screens can effectively eliminate voids. For CNC or machine-engraved dies, crowns can be an effective tool. A technique utilized by United Silicone is the use of screens incorporated into the surface of a Die’s artwork or contact area. A screen is an artwork overlay applied in die manufacturing. The screen pattern is actually a series of dots that facilitates air flow, ensuring air doesn’t become trapped between the die and part, thus enabling complete contact and foil transfer – no more random voids! A variety of screen weights and textures are available. The more dots per inch, the finer the resulting pattern. The fewer dots per inch, the more coarse the screened pattern.
Crowns are a very slight, dome-shaped curve at the top of the die that allows the middle of the die to hit first. The dome can be as small as six or even three-thousandths of an inch. Experts at United Silicone and CER can design crowns or optimal performance and void elimination with your specific artwork
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